Gravity Payments

How to Accept Credit Card Payments for a Small Business

Learn the steps you need to take to set up credit card payments for your small business and how you can get started today.

 Reading Time: 4 minutes

According to Bankrate, 83% of American adults have at least one credit card and 28% of payments are made via credit card.

Accommodating customers who want to pay by credit card helps you maximize your sales.

Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about accepting credit card payments in your small business.

How to Accept Credit Card Payments

Let’s take a look at the steps required to take credit card payments in your small business.

Find a Payment Processor

You need a credit card payment processor to take credit card payments. Here’s a few important things to consider when selecting a processor:

  • The cost of their services. Payment processing fees can vary wildly depending on the credit card pricing structure your processor uses. Pro Tip: avoid tiered pricing at all costs.
  • The length of the contract you have to sign. A common merchant services scam is locking a business owner into a long contract – often attracting small businesses with enticing introductory rates – with fixed fees that end up costing you too much in the long run. Even worse, some providers add big penalties should you wish to cancel your contract – make sure to read the fine print!
  • Does the payment processor have a good reputation and a track record among other small businesses in your industry? Look for case studies, testimonials, and ask for specific features they offer for your industry.
  • Customer service. You want your payment processor to be available when you need them and be able to resolve any issues in a timely and satisfactory manner.

Selecting the right payment processor can save you thousands of dollars per year in unnecessary fees and/or hidden fees.

Open a Merchant Account

You need a merchant account to accept credit card payments – which is different from a business bank account. The merchant account acts as a middle man between the customer who pays by credit card and your business bank account.

A merchant services provider – such as Gravity Payments – can help you set up your merchant account and get started.

Set up a Credit Card Terminal

If your small business has a physical location, a credit card terminal – or point-of-sale (POS) system – makes taking credit card payments a seamless experience for both you and your customers.

Other than taking payments, modern POS systems have many additional benefits such as inventory management, built-in sales reports, and the ability to manage promotions.

Gravity Payments provides a range of wireless credit card terminals and POS systems. All of the terminals are equipped with chip card readers for swipe payments and accommodate modern payment methods such as contactless payments.

Credit Card Payment Methods for Small Businesses

Once you’re up-and-running, you can accept credit card payments in the following ways:


A countertop credit card terminal is the most common way to take credit card payments for small businesses with a physical storefront, such as restaurants, retail, and other brick-and-mortar businesses.


More and more customers are connecting their credit card to mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay for contactless payments. Most modern POS systems have built-in technology to support this payment method.

On-the-Go and Offline

With Gravity’s payment processing solutions, you can take credit card payments offline. If you don’t have internet access, you can still take payments using your smartphone or tablet.

Text To Pay

Text to pay works by sending a payment link to the customer – this typically takes them to a page with payment options, including credit card payments. If your small business sends a lot of invoices, this is a convenient way to accept payments.

Over The Phone

If your small business regularly takes payments over the phone, you can use either a physical credit card terminal or a payment page on your phone or tablet to manually enter the customer’s credit card information.


Your merchant bank account can be connected to your online store to receive online credit card payments. Even if you don’t have a website, you can still take credit card payments online using a dedicated page with a payment form.

How Much Does it Cost to Process Credit Card Payments for a Small Business?

There are several types of fees your small business needs to pay in order to process credit card payments:

  • Card brand fees: these fees are charged and set by the card brands (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.). The payment processor doesn’t control these fees.
  • Interchange fees: another fee outside the payment processor’s control, interchange fees are paid to the card-issuing bank. Interchange fees make up the largest percentage (usually 70-80%) of your total fees.
  • Processor fees: these are the fees charged by your credit card processor for its services. It’s a good idea to pay close attention to processor fees when selecting a processor.

Your payment processor’s credit card pricing structure has a big impact on your total fees.

Comparing your effective processing rate to your industry peers gives you a good idea of whether you are paying too much in credit card processing fees.

Is Accepting Credit Card Payments Safe?

Taking credit card payments using modern payment software, hardware, and payment methods is generally safe and secure.

Gravity Payments can help your business become PCI compliant  and implement payment security features to protect payment data.

One downside of accepting credit card payments is exposure to chargebacks by customers. Keep in mind that customers can’t do chargebacks if the payment was made with cash, ACH, or a debit card.

RELATED: How to Protect Your Small Business Bank Accounts from Fraud

Start Accepting Credit Card Payments with Gravity Payments

Gravity Payments provides merchant services for small businesses – we can help you accept credit card payments through the payment methods mentioned in this article.

We also provide integrated payment solutions, connecting our merchant services to a large range of critical business management software across different industries.

Contact our team so we can help you set up the best payment processing solution for your business.

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